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Herbivory is an important ecological process in forest canopies but is difficult to measure, especially for whole stands. We used the Wind River Canopy Crane in Washington State to access 101 randomly-located sample points throughout the forest canopy. This provided a relatively quick and convenient way to estimate herbivory for a whole stand. The overall level of herbivory was estimated at 1.6% of leaf area. The distribution was strongly skewed to the lower canopy where broad-leafed species experienced higher levels of herbivory. Herbivory averaged 0.3% in conifers and 13.5% in broad-leafed species. Fully half of the sample points had no detectable herbivory. Herbivory in this old-growth conifer forest is among the lowest levels published for forests around the globe and may reflect the general levels of herbivory in temperate coniferous forests during nonoutbreak conditions. Our whole-stand estimate is the first attempt at measuring herbivory for an entire forest stand in the Pacific Northwest.
Shaw, David C.; Ernest, Kristina A.; Rinker, H. Bruce; and Lowman, Margaret D. (2006) "Stand-level herbivory in an old-growth conifer forest canopy," Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 66 : No. 4, Article 9.
Western North American Naturalist